White House to issue new strategy to combat homegrown terrorism

The White House recently announced that it would issue a new strategy aimed at fighting homegrown terrorism within the United States.

In the wake of a plot by four elderly Georgia men to disburse the deadly toxin ricin in an effort to harm the U.S. government, the White House plans to develop a program aimed at teaching local officials to identify violent extremism as a public safety issue, according to NPR.org.

"What we have to do is be prepared for these different types of approaches that al-Qaida is pursuing," John Brennan, Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, said, NPR.org reports. "The large attacks, the small attacks, the groups that are operating together and the individuals who may be vulnerable to these types of entreaties."

In August, the administration released an outline that laid out a series of broad initiatives. The strategy is expected to give a better idea of what the White House has in mind. The plan reportedly envisions local partners working together with law enforcement as well as with new partners, such as the Department of Education.

"We had a long conversation about what kinds of things education can do," Quintan Wiktorowicz, a senior director of the National Security Council, said, NPR reports. "In the same way they fight gangs, or bullying, they can help here. The challenge is going to be trying to put the violent extremism initiatives into existing programs. But there are lots of ways to do it, and we'll work with the schools to tailor the approach to what they need."

Wiktorowicz studied the United Kingdom’s response to homegrown terrorism long before it became an issue in the United States. The plan has some antecedents in the 2008 British anti-terrorism strategy.